Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we teach the rising generation that happiness comes from choosing the right. We must teach children and teens that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them and want them to be happy. In order to be truly happy, we must make the right choices.
Joshua tried to convince the children of Israel to follow God: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
We make many choices as we go through each day. We decide if we will get out bed when the alarm goes off; we decide what we will do each day – whether we will go to work or call in sick; we decide what we will wear and how we will act, what we will read and watch, and where we will go. The opportunity to choose is a gift from Heavenly Father; He gave us this gift of agency before we became mortal. Heavenly Father has a plan for us, and agency is a huge part of His plan. He wants us to choose to follow His commandments because we love Him and want to do His will.
Since Heavenly Father wants us to choose the right, He will help us make right choices. We are His children; He loves us and wants us to return to live with him. He gave us commandments because He knows that we can be truly happy only if we follow them. He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to prepare the way for our return; Jesus Christ gave us His teachings, His example, and His life. Heavenly Father wants us to communicate with Him and have given us two different ways to do so. We have the scriptures that teach us about Jesus Christ and the words of many prophets; we can hear God’s words by studying the scriptures. We also have the opportunity to talk with God through prayer. We also have the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost that help us to choose the right. By following the Spirit of Christ we can be led to the truth; after baptism we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the opportunity to have His presence with us at all times. We also have living prophets and apostles who teach the word of God. As we follow their counsel, we will choose the right and be truly happy.
A friend suggested that we do not want children who are merely obedient; we want children who are willing to cooperate with us. One can obey with bad feelings, but one cannot truly cooperate without acceptance of the plan or a willing heart. When we teach the rising generation to choose the right and to cooperate with loving parents, we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations.